Carvins Cove Reservoir, Virginia, USA

Also known as:  Carvin Cove Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Carvins Cove Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Carvins Cove Reservoir

Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains, Carvins Cove Reservoir is a precious natural treasure for the State of Virginia. The reservoir never ceases to bring sheer delight as it offers an abundance of recreational activities for every age group. Popular pastimes at Carvins Cove include mountain biking, hiking, picnicking, golfing, and horseback riding. There are several birding and boating spots offering exciting venues for wildlife watching.

Carvins Cove Reservoir, created by the damming of Carvin’s Creek, is the main water source for the city of Roanoke. Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest city park in the United States. The terrain at the Reserve has an elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet from the reservoir to the tips of the mountains. The Reserve is extensively forested with several natural communities, perennial and intermittent streams, and wetlands. Carvins Cove Natural Reserve harbors many rare species including bald eagles and shale barrens.

The Reserve also has several wonderful trails, a boat launch, an excellent picnic area, and fishing platforms. A multitude of trails crisscross the watershed at Carvins Cove. Enjoy a bike ride or a hike along the Curry Creek Trail, or choose the beautiful North Mountain Trail. Great hiking amidst beautiful scenery is also available along the Fenwick Nature Trail. The Enchanted Forest Trail is one of the most favorite trails at Carvins Cove, featuring huge hardwoods and gigantic pines towering over riders who eagerly pass through the trail. The environment sustains wonderfully diverse wildlife habitats for animal lovers.

One-of-a-kind boating and fishing experiences are also plentiful at Carvins Cove Reservoir. Numerous species of fish are abundantly available whether you prefer fishing from land or from boat. The variety consists of largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, yellow and white perch, chain pickerel crappie, muskellunge, pike, and walleye.

The vast, sparkling waters and extensive mudflats at Carvins Cove Reservoir provide unique views of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Belted kingfishers, gulls, tern, green heron, double-crested cormorants, spotted sandpipers, and fly-over barn swallows flock to the reservoir. Buffleheads, common loons, common mergansers, and bald eagles can often be seen magnificently flying overhead. Horned owls, wild turkeys, and red-tailed hawks find their home in the surrounding woodlands. In the summer, you can take a peek at scarlet tanagers, worm-eating warblers, whip-poor-wills, yellow-breasted chats, and great crested flycatchers at Carvins Cove Reservoir.

The colorful butterflies and dragonflies floating around Carvins Cove Reservoir are simply amazing. Gazing at the magnificent creatures should definitely be an item on your “To Do” list. The rare varieties of butterflies include eastern tiger swallowtail, red-spotted purple, and silver-spotted skipper.

Amidst the Blue Ridge Mountain’s bright, beautiful scenery, Carvins Cove Reservoir offers a reliable water supply as well as extensive outdoor recreation in a refreshingly natural setting. It is truly a haven for both anglers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Things to Do at Carvins Cove Reservoir

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • City Park

Fish Species Found at Carvins Cove Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye
  • White Perch

Find Places to Stay at Carvins Cove Reservoir

If you’re considering a Carvins Cove Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Carvins Cove Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Carvins Cove Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Carvins Cove Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Western Virginia Water Authority

Surface Area: 630 acres

Shoreline Length: 15 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,174 feet

Water Volume: 19,948 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1930

Drainage Area: 18 sq. miles

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